The museum at the Auschwitz death camp is warning that its historic buildings will collapse without funding from world governments.
Since the end of the Shoah there has been a debate of what to do with the various death camps in Poland. Today, more then 60 years after the end of the Holocaust, the debate continues.
Some say that the places are too horrible a reminder of those terrifying days when the Germans and their collaborators killed millions of people for no justifiable cause.
Remains of one of the destroyed gas chambers/crematoria in Auschwitz.
Some want the original structures to be left alone and deteriorate, till nothing is left but a memorial to those that perished, similar to what is found today at Sobibor, Treblinka, and Belzec.
It had been decided that the two most complete concentration camps in Poland, Auschwitz and Majdanek, be preserved to remain as evidence against the crimes perpetrated by the Germans during the Shoah.
The most commonly known, Auschwitz, was chosen as the “showpiece” for the world to come and visit, mourn, learn and try to comprehend how low humanity can go.
A black pool containing ashes of the victims.
In Auschwitz today there is sharp contrast between the two main sections of the camp. In Auschwitz 1, most of the buildings are still standings and it is where most of the displays are. In Auschwitz 2, Birkenau, there are only a few barracks left standing, the ruins of the crematorium and gas chambers are open to the elements, as well as the black pools, where the ashes of the victims were unceremoniously dumped.
The field of barracks, other then those on the perimeter, have only their chimneys remaining, as one visitor remarked, “like broken teeth of a corpse.”
The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland hopes that the European Union will foot some of the $100 million needed to reinforce and restore deteriorating structures, including wooden barracks, as well as create new facilities for tour groups and artifact storage.
A field of broken teeth.
“An unfathomable bureaucratic standoff has gone on for several years, making it impossible to carry out this essential task that will benefit everyone,” Museum Director Piotr Cywinski told the Polish-language newspaper Dziennik Polski.
Cywinski credited the Polish government for absorbing the brunt of the cost of maintaining the museum.
The preservation work at Auschwitz has been an ongoing project, from the time it opened many years ago. It has been said that, other than the ruins, there is practically nothing original left at the site. But the place has to remain standing, as a memorial and learning center, so that we will hopefully never see another Auschwitz built again.